Pennsylvania Woman Found Guilty of Felony Charges for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Smashed Capitol Building Windows and Directed Others with Bullhorn
WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania woman was found guilty in the District of Columbia today of eight felonies and one misdemeanor charge related to her actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. Her actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Rachel Marie Powell, 41, of Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of all nine charges against her following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Oct. 17, 2023.
Powell was convicted of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 6, 2021, Powell was present at the Capitol building and grounds wearing a pink hat, black jacket, and carrying a bullhorn. Powell is seen in multiple videos and photographs from that day using a bullhorn to instruct others how to further gain control of the Capitol. One video of Powell depicts a group of individuals inside a room of the Capitol discussing how to further penetrate the building. One individual is heard asking, “what’s the floor plan?” Another shouts, “We just need a plan. We need enough people. We need to push forward.” Shortly after, Powell is clearly seen speaking through the bullhorn and giving very detailed instructions about the layout of the building to others in the room. Powell can be heard stating that she had just been inside an adjacent room and that they should “coordinate together if you are going to take this building.” Powell also notes that they “have another window to break.”
According to court documents, law enforcement authorities identified multiple images and videos of Powell during the events of January 6th including some instances of her using a large pipe as a ramming device to breach windows of the Capitol to gain access. Video footage from inside the Capitol building shows Powell enter the building at approximately 2:41 p.m. through the West Lower Terrace exterior door along with a large crowd of rioters.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The case was investigated by the FBI's Pittsburgh and Washington Office, with valuable assistance provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 30 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,069 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.